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Almost at the end of his probation, man tests positive for meth

TCF Territorial Correctional Facility front entrance and wall

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A father of three was arrested again last month on the allegation that he violated conditions of his 5-year probation, which was handed down by the High Court 4 years ago.

Ula Pele, who has been in custody since his arrest last month was in High Court last week for a preliminary examination. Pele told the court that on Mar. 09, 2021 when he came in for his monthly visit to Probation, he took a drug test and it came back positive for meth.

He said he smoked meth two days prior while working on his plantation. The court wanted to know more about Pele’s actions that day.

Pele said he smoked ice so he could gain strength to help with his daily routine. According to Probation, this was the same excuse Pele used when he tested positive for meth last year, on Aug. 10, 2020. Pele was remanded to custody without bail. A disposition hearing is set for May 22, 2021

Court records note that on Feb. 3, 2019, Pele was ordered by the Court to serve out the remaining 7 months of his prison term, although he was allowed to work during government work-hours.

Pele was convicted of assaulting a man from Aua with a metal pipe.

In September 2017 he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment, but execution of the sentence was suspended and he was placed on 5 years probation, with several conditions, which included serving 20 months behind bars, paying $2,000 and attending and completing alcohol and drug counseling.

Pele only served 13 months at TCF before he was released and the court waived the remaining 7 months, as long as he complied with conditions of probation. He was also subject to random alcohol and drug testing, and obligated to visit Probation once a month. It was during a Probation visit last year that Pele tested positive and was taken into custody.

At his probation review hearing in June 2020, Pele apologized and sought a chance to remain out of jail so he could be with his family. He promised he would not violate any more conditions of his probation.

Pele was told during that hearing that the court had not forgotten the seriousness of his crime; but nonetheless, Pele was given another chance.